Steps To Help Reduce Math Anxiety

By Dr. Rick Bavaria

Subject Areas
Steps to Help Girls Reduce Anxiety About Math

As a parent, you know that your child, tween or teen goes through many transitions as they continue to grow. Between extracurricular activities and academic duties, your child doesn’t need any extra energy to be taken up by math anxiety. Unfortunately, a lot of children struggle with math-related stress.

Here are some tips to reduce math anxiety.

1. Believe you can do it. Don’t doubt yourself. It’s damaging to your confidence, your skills and your grades. It’s not fair to you. Worry can affect your thought processes and your memory.

2. Find a “study buddy” to help you with math assignments, homework and studying for tests. Having a study buddy will give you confidence, a supportive friend with similar goals and the friendly challenge you need to stay on track. It’s sometimes easier to ask a study buddy questions you’re not sure how to ask of a teacher. Plus, when your grades begin to rise, you’ll have someone to celebrate with!

3. Get some extra help if you begin to notice a drop in your grades. Get it early. This may be a tutor, a teacher willing to come in early or stay late or an honor society student looking for community credit.

4. Have a math mentor or role model. You probably already know someone who’s good at math and probably enjoys it. Look up to that person; notice how she studies and organizes herself for school or homework. It’s good to have admirable people you can look up to. Someday, you’ll be someone’s role model.

5. Participate in math class. Don’t worry about what other kids say. Raise your hand whenever you can. Ask questions, volunteer and provide answers. Make sure your teacher calls on you as much as he calls on others. Be persistent. You’ll find that you know as much as your classmates. This will boost your confidence and, before you know it, you’ll be the one other kids look up to.

6. Do positive self-talk. Yes, talk to yourself! Remind yourself of all the hard study time you’re logging, the work you’re doing with your tutor or study buddy, the improving grades on your quizzes and the many times you’ve participated in class. All these things accumulate. Positive self-talk can ease a lot of stress.

7. Notice how you use math in everyday life. You use math more than you think — in stores as you shop, at home when you help with meals or chores, when you do crafts or other artwork, when you travel with your family, when you decide how to divide your allowance into spending and saving or when you determine how long it will take you to save for a particular goal. Recognize that you’re doing math on every day, proving to yourself that you can do it.

8. Recognize your math growth. Every time you get a right answer, volunteer in class, raise your hand (whether you get called on or not), do well on a quiz or help out a classmate, give yourself a silent high-five. You’re improving.

9. Recognize your growing confidence. Every little step forward is a step in the right direction and will help boost your confidence. Having confidence and believing in yourself each step of the way will only help to get you even further in your progress.

10. Celebrate your successes. These don’ have to be big celebrations, but take some time to celebrate with your study buddy, role model or friends and family.

These steps are equally helpful with just about any subject or any anxiety you have. The most important things are to commit to improving, notice small improvements and give yourself credit for erasing an anxiety from your life and replacing it with confidence. Good luck!